Confusion

time_confusionOur next exercise tonight was to write either a complete physical description of an object and then relate these descriptive words to a family member, or to write about an abstraction.  When the abstraction, “confusion,” was suggested, I immediately knew where my affinity lay.  I am on intimate terms with confusion.  For challenge, I decided to try to write it as a rhymed poem.  I think it came out okay.

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CONFUSION

I watch the morning sun arise
and bring forth new that day
a sense of hopeless loss and fear
and watching all that lay

about my mind in tangled mess
and muddy thoughts profound.
No simple loss of innocence
could ease that scentless hound.

The morning sun, it never changes
yet never is the same.
The ice of frozen memories
melt little with its flame.

How, and who, and why, and what
the questions all abound–
the rock tied to the rope of thought
tossed random all around.

No home in thee.  No home for me.
My unbound thoughts no rest.
No glassy lake of mirrored sheen
to help my mind do best.

The morning sun now in the noon.
The time goes back and forth.
Scrambled eggs of lunchtime sup
and Eastward goes the North.

And so my face goes upside-down
to match my state of brain,
and the morning sun now rise to night
to fall up-down again.

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Never Friends

300px-crislerarenaThis was the first exercise I completed in a writing class I took tonight.  First, our instructor led us through several memory prompts.  We were just to write down a few words that came into our minds with each prompt.  When she suggested, “The first time you went to a sporting event,” something resonated with me.  I ignored her other prompts and scribbled the following.

I remember the crowds – the noise – the overwhelming sense of smallness in a world that I didn’t care for and that cared not about me.  The time clock–ticking down four times.  Popcorn.  Not being heard or being able to hear.

When she later told us to spend ten minutes writing about one of our memories, this was the one I naturally chose.  Our objective was to write continuously–not to lift our pen from the paper.  Continuous stream of consciousness.  I produced the following:

———————————————-

NEVER FRIENDS

The blue seats were better than the yellow.  That was the goal.  The thing to be achieved.  I dashed back and forth with the money entrusted to me to find someone selling the seats represented by small pieces of paper.  I was good.  I could always find the sellers.  But that was the only good part.

Then inside.

Inside there was the clock.  Ticking down 4 times successively.  There was an infinite of noise–enough that I could neither hear nor be heard.  I sat and watched the clock.

The ball would catch my interest sometimes.  If the clock bored me, I would control the ball–make it either fall in or miss the basket.  I was good.  I succeeded 50% of the time.

The yellow seats were better for me–quieter.  The blue seats were better for them.  Closer.  There was food that was better then both.  Hot dogs.  Popcorn.

The place didn’t belong to me.  I didn’t belong to it.  We coexisted–tolerating each other.  We never, ever, became friends.

Truth, God, and the Sun Rise: Karl Popper

popper-smA friend of mine, Twinkle, whom I know through Second Life, made a nice response to my last post, The Absolute Nature of Uncertainty pt. 2.  As is my unfortunate nature, I got a little long winded in my response, so I decided to make a separate article out of it.  I hope that she does not take offense to it, as absolutely none is intended.  I just felt that my response helps to give a clearer idea of the General Uncertainty Principle (see the bottom of this link).

*********************************

Twinkle: Popper said that nothing is true if you can’t prove its opposite.

Having done extensive research into Karl Popper (i.e. having skimmed the Wikipedia article article about him), I believe that he is skating along the edges of the General Uncertainty Principle without completely identifying it as such, and is thus making mistakes in interpretation. If I am reading the article correctly, I believe that what Popper said is that no amount of evidence can prove that something is true, but a single example of its opposite can disprove it. I.e., no amount of instances of sun rising will prove that the sun will rise tomorrow, but a single instance of the sun not rising will disprove the idea that the sun always rises.

Again, the concept that NOTHING is provable beyond unreasonable doubt comes in. Popper seems to be toying with the principle of proof beyond ALL possible doubt, which I’ve demonstrated as an impossibility.

So, that the sun always rises is provable beyond reasonable doubt, and is therefore true (depending upon one’s definition of truth).  It is not, however, proof beyond unreasonable doubt. If the sun does not rise tomorrow, it merely demonstrates that an unreasonable assumption proved to be the correct one.

Twinkle: So, if you can reckon what’s God’s opposite and prove it exists, you’re done with your theory :)

So on to God. Firstly, it depends on how one defines “truth”. Absolute truth is unknowable by the General Uncertainty Principle. General truth I define as something proven beyond reasonable doubt.

Secondly, God’s opposite depends on what definition of God you prefer. If one accepts the definition of God as a supernatural being that created the universe, then, according to Popper, to prove that God is true requires that there exists no proof of its opposite, a universe created by completely natural processes.

I would submit that we have come a long way to proving our universe is created by completely natural processes beyond reasonable doubt.  In fact, by definition, science cannot use supernatural explanations, as science holds them by definition to be beyond reason and unprovable.  By the nature of science, a supernatural God is, definitionally, ruled out as an explanation.

This is not to say that science could not demonstrate strong evidence of the supernatural.  If, for example, prayer were proven to increase the likelihood of survival of  people undergoing open heart surgery, then we would have little choice but to conclude that something supernatural was indeed happening (alternative explanations, such as alien intervention, could be determined to be less likely via Occam’s Razor.)  Incidentally, this very experiment has indeed been conducted, in fact, and the results indicated that prayer did nothing to improve chances of survival.  This result proves almost nothing, for reasons that I’m not going to go into for time’s sake.

If this is a bias of science, then it is an absolutely necessary one.  Proof of natural processes cannot be found if we constantly throw “goddidit” into every unknown.

Therefore, if one (not unreasonably) redefines “truth” by throwing in the possibility of the unreasonable, then “truth” can never be proven.

What seems “reasonable” to me is that if God exists, He clearly does NOT want us to demonstrate his existence through our study of the natural world.

Twinkle: But at the end…does it really matter?

Well, in the “end”, it certainly DOES matter, as it could mean the difference between eternal hellfire and torture; 70+ virgins in assorted colors and flavors; or becoming worm food.

But I’m just playing and I know what sense you meant this in. And in the sense you meant it, then I would say no, it doesn’t matter in the least.

Twinkle: I’ve had so much proof of humanity’s evilness that I am positive that Love is somewhere out there…or maybe just inside myself… A secret recipe for serenity ;)

As to evil, mankind is imperfect and suffers from many mental illnesses and brainwashing resulting from unreasonable arguments. Hitler very likely had a mental illnesses (Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and who the hell knows what that mustard gas did to him). Whether these illnesses are in anyway treatable does not change this fact. When what we perceive as evil is in fact something that is beyond the conscious control of a mentally ill mind, can we truly call it evil?

This is not to say that Hitler wasn’t a nasty, dangerous son-of-a-bitch who needed to be killed far, far earlier then he actually was.

So evil is definitional. Love? I have no doubt of it. Love, too, is definitional, but “generally” doesn’t follow under anyone’s definition of mental illness. Most people have love within them. This is a statement of faith on my part.

And if you could more clearly express your secret recipe, I would greatly appreciate it. 🙂

Love,

Alphonsus

The Absolute Nature of Uncertainty pt. 2

Venusians

Venusians

 

I learned why the teacher mentioned Descartes in step two of my Proof of the Mischievous God (see my previous post).  Descartes had essentially devoted his life to the question expressed in step two.

To reiterate, step two states the following.

2) God can, then, influence the human mind and make one believe whatever He wants us to believe.  This would certainly fall under the heading of what an all powerful person could do.

Descartes had asked himself the same question.  Is there anything that God couldn’t possible fool us about?  Anything that is, to use his word, indubitable, that is, free from all doubt?

Descartes spent years on the question.  He was a deeply religious man, and wanted to believe that there was some absolute in the universe, some gift that God had given that was beyond all doubt, that we could use to build all of our other proofs about the universe from.

His answer finally came out as the famous expression, one that I hadn’t understood until then.  “Cogito Ergo Sum”, or, more commonly, “I think, therefore, I am.”

What Descartes concluded was that God could not possibly be fooling us about our own existence.  How could God possibly be tricking us into believing that we exist?  If we didn’t exist, who, indeed, would he be tricking?

How could He, indeed.

God could, if He was mischievous and chose to do so, make us believe that two plus two equals five with the same certainty and conviction that we believe, “Cogito Ergo Sum.”

The point is, there could be a flaw in the logic of, “Cogito Ergo Sum.” that we are missing, or something obvious that we are being kept from seeing.

Can I point out what this flaw is?  Of course not, because I believe it to be true.  The logic of his point seems to be irrefutable.

But Descartes was the one who made the rules here.  The legal system tells its jurors that, to find someone guilty, they must be guilty beyond “reasonable” doubt.

By Descartes’ rules, the word “reasonable” no longer applies.  We are no longer talking about “reasonable” doubt, but to be completely beyond “any” doubt.

Descartes’ question is, in essence, is there anything that we can know for sure that is beyond unreasonable doubt.  The problem, of course, is that once one throws out reason, anything goes.  Logic no longer applies.  A madman who is convinced that he is being tricked by God into believing he exists will except no demonstration that he is wrong.

Cogito Ergo Sum depends upon reason, but reason is one of the conditions that doesn’t apply under Descartes rules.

The General Uncertainty Principle does not require that the flaw be pointed out.  All it does is state that a flaw could exist beyond our ability to see it.

To reiterate, NOTHING can be proven beyond all possible doubt, for all possible doubt includes unreasonable doubt, and without reason, the very concept of proof becomes meaningless.

Thereby, if I were to introduce unreasonable “what ifs” to any statement, such as, what if a statement, such as “a=a”, is wrong and God / Venusians / The Flying Spaghetti Monster / The Invisible Pink Unicorn is only making you BELIEVE the statement to be correct, then the statement has not been proven beyond ALL possible doubt.

**************

After I wrote out my little principle, I turned stupid for the next decade or so.

I loved this theory.  I loved the logic of the theory.  And, like a man who falls in love with and marries an axe murderess because she’s got nice boobs, I paid too much attention to the outstanding attributes and almost lost my head.

I spent the next several years of my life believing that absolutely nothing was provable ‑ ‑ that nothing could really be demonstrated with certainty, therefore anything was possible.  I became deeply philosophical during this period of my life.  No one could ever get a straight answer out of me.  I would respond to peoples concerns with relaxed, knowing smiles.  Nothing mattered, so no decision was demonstrably better than any other in the long run.

This is the same fallacy that the nihilist falls into.  Its a basic belief that just because nothing can be proven beyond all possible doubt that nothing can be known or proven at all.

The problem with this kind of thinking is that it gives equal weight to reasonable doubt and to unreasonable doubt.  There is absolutely nothing in the argument that suggests that this is necessary.  In the tautological statement “a=a”, we are faced with the overwhelming logic of it’s obvious correctness.  This statement is the cornerstone of all reason.  If it is not true, then nothing else we have ever thought of can be true.

The only way it can be stated as being possibly false is by invoking the Venusian clause.  But, even if the Venusians existed, there is absolutely no reason for us to believe that they would be able to, much less want to, make us believe this.  One would have to be unreasonable to the point of insanity to seriously doubt that this statement is correct.

In other words, just because something is not provable beyond all possible doubt does not mean that it isn’t true.  Just because it is possible to doubt something does not mean that it is wrong.  To believe otherwise is not … uh … reasonable.

Therefore, I retract my argument that it is impossible to prove God’s existence.  God could very easily prove his existence by making his existence known beyond reasonable doubt in a multitude of ways.  Sending the same message to everyone on earth while simultaneously making all the non-believers walk around and quack like a duck would go a long way toward demonstrating His existence.  I still maintain that it is unlikely that we will ever be able to prove His existence beyond a direct demonstration on His part, but I don’t have a proof for this; it’s just a statement of belief.  I can imagine several ways by which science could come up with reasonable proofs for God.  Nothing yet, but that doesn’t mean anything either.

Love and peace,

Alphonsus

The Absolute Nature of Uncertainty pt. 1

Symbol of Uncertainty

Symbol of Uncertainty

I did not want to bring up this particular argument here at this time, but, after trying to write my next post, I found that I could not effectively make my arguments without laying down these logical foundations first.

What follows is a major rewrite of a section of my haphazard book, “Emergence.” The book itself is quite hopeless, and I would never consider trying to publish it without starting from scratch.

******

In college, I took a class called Philosophy 101 in which I was given an assignment. The assignment I was supposed to do would have involved critiquing or supporting the arguments of St. Thomas Aquinas in his proofs of God’s existence, or of critiquing or supporting a non saint named W.I. Matson’s arguments against them.

Well, I didn’t know it at the time, but I have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (non-hyperactive).  This means, among other things, that I have a great deal of difficulty paying attention to arguments that I find to be mind-boggling boring.   I did not then, and have not to this day, read either of these arguments.  It was my contention at the time that God’s existence could neither be proved or disproved. So, basically ignoring the assignment, I decided to come up with proofs for these contentions instead.

As a first step, I demonstrated that no proof could ever exist for the non existence of God. I called this . . .

The Proof of the Mischievous God

1) Suppose that God exists, and that this God is all powerful and all knowing.

2) God can, then, influence the human mind and make one believe whatever He wants us to believe. This would certainly fall under the heading of what an all powerful person could do.

3) God could, for example, cause one to believe a false proof for God’s non existence, and to believe it for as long as He so chooses.

4) Therefore, there can exist a situation where a proof for God’s non existence exists despite God’s persistent existence.

5) Under these circumstance, the proof would be false

6) There would be no way to determine if these circumstances exist, because God, being all powerful and all knowing, could keep us from finding out.

7) Any proof for God’s non existence could therefore be false beyond our ability to prove otherwise.

8) Since a good proof, by its definition, can never have a false conclusion, it follows that God’s non-existence can not be proved.

At this point in the paper, I pointed out that here, at last, was definite proof of something of a philosophical nature. I also noted that the proof had the really cool side affect of disproving the proofs of virtually everything that man had ever done. All one has to do is insert the appropriate proof name in the appropriate places and watch its truthfulness erode.

I pointed out at this point that I wasn’t stating that I believed that God would actually do anything as mischievous as what He does in the proof, only that He could, and that even this possibility is what makes the proof work.

I went on to point out that probably the one proof that this proof doesn’t disprove is the existence of a proof for God’s existence, which was my original goal. How could it be possible, after all, for a non-existent God to make a proof of God’s existence incorrect.

As I hadn’t thought my paper through, and as I was writing it roughly 6 hours before it was due, I did have a moment of panic at this point. After all, at the beginning of the paper, I promised that I would find a way to not only demonstrate that no proof for the non existence of God exists, but also that no proof would ever exist for His existence.

And I didn’t know how to do it.

I knew that such a proof existed. I never doubted it for a second. It just seemed so obvious to me, almost like a gimme. But, now that I had committed myself to the gunfight and was walking the eighth step of the ten paces away from my opponent, I realized that the time had come for me to check to see if I had a gun!

It crossed my mind, briefly to be sure, that if I couldn’t think of a proof that would satisfy me, I might actually have to read the stuff that I was supposed to read!  Not only did this run contrary to my sense of ethics, I simply didn’t have the time to properly sit down, analyze the stuff, and then write about it in any way that would most do it justice.

Finally, I seized on a principle that I had gathered from reading science fiction.  The more ridiculous and far out the example, the better it can sometimes illustrate the point that needs to be gotten across.   A situation that is incorrect at the extremes of reason will show where the same situation falters within the bounds.

To demonstrate that no proof for God exists, therefore, was much more subtle then the Proof of the Mischievous God, and relied on a chain of unlikely events.  It was based on the idea that one doesn’t require an all powerful being to deceive us.  That is, a lesser being may be able to get the job done.  Human beings can be very gullible sometimes, after all.  I called this proof . . .

The Paranoid Principle

1) Let us suppose that God does not exist.

2) Let us further suppose that there exist more advanced civilizations than ours that wish to deceive us, for whatever reason, into believing that our proofs for God’s existence are correct.

2a) As these civilizations are not God, they are not all knowledgeable or all powerful.

3) Since the civilizations are not all knowledgeable or all powerful, the possibility exists for us to find a way to disprove the false proof which the advance civilization could not anticipate or prevent.

4) It is possible, however, that a more advanced civilization could then offer us another proof in which the disproof of the previous proof doe not apply.

5) To this proof it will be possible to apply 3, and to this it is possible to apply 4, ad infinitum.

6) We could never be certain that we are not being deceived into believing our proofs until we ourselves become all powerful and all knowledgeable, at which point the question becomes academic.

The reason why I called this the paranoid proof is that it pre supposes that everyone in the universe is against us. The mere fact that this pre supposition is ludicrous does not rule it out as being a possibility.

At the end of the paper, I concluded that, in using these two proofs, it is possible to disprove virtually any other proof in the known or unknown universe, and that the mere possibility of a mischievous God necessitates it. I then said that, as these proofs will never get us anywhere in the practical living of our lives, it would probably be best to ignore them and get on with the business of living it.

Well, looking back at it now, I can see an obvious omission in the second proof, in that I never gave reason to support my supposition.

I’m not going to bother to fix this problem now, as I never really did like either proof. The thing that bothered me most about them is that they seemed to work.

My instructor did nothing to dispute them, not really. Other than one comment about Descartes and a few spelling corrections, she did not find fault with my proofs at all. In fact, she told me that I ought to take up philosophy as my trade. She said that the paper was excellent and a lot of fun to read as well, an unusual combination. This gave my ego an extremely unhealthy boost.

But the fact remained that my evidence for there being no proof for God’s existence relied on a bunch of mind-bending Venusions who had nothing better to do than to spend eternity messing wit the earthling brain. It did not seem credible, that the proof for the non-existence of a proof something so overwhelmingly important had to rely on something so absolutely ridiculous.

What was it that made the Paranoid Proof work?  What was the work that the aliens were accomplishing that made them seem necessary?

Well, the aliens were fooling us, weren’t they?  They were there to make us think that our proofs were correct when in fact they weren’t.   They were causing us to be blind with respect to the flaws in our logic.

Was there anything else that could cause us to be blind with respect to flaws in our logic?

Well, that’s no real trick, is it?   A large percentage our population still smokes, despite overwhelming evidence that smoking adds absolutely nothing to our lives and in fact causes us great physical harm.   Many of the smokers of the world have managed to justify their habit in some way, but whatever way it is, it is pretty safe to assume that there is a flaw in their logic, somewhere.

And it’s not just the non scientists that use flawed logic.  Scientists used to be able to say quite logically why the sun went around the earth, and more recently, that the planet Mercury always kept just one face to the sun

Even Sir Isaac Newton was wrong, wasn’t he?   I mean, Einstein came along later and showed that the Newtonian universe was not quite correct, or, at least it didn’t apply to objects that began to approach the speed of light.  Of course, at the time, the speed of light was not really understood. The proper inconsistencies hadn’t been discovered yet.   Newton had no reason to suspect . . .

But what were the aliens in the Paranoid Principle?  We had no reason to suspect them, either.   Weren’t they just an expression of . . . uncertainty?

So its obvious that aliens are not needed in order for us to have flaws in the logic of our proofs.  Reality and our own lack of total omniscience has a neat way hiding flaws all on its own, doesn’t it?

I thought about this for about two weeks after I turned in my paper.  Finally, I had a new idea.

The General Uncertainty Principle

1) Let us suppose that we have created a proof for something, and we believe it to be true.

2) Let us further suppose that there exists a flaw somewhere in our logic in the proof. Perhaps we added two numbers together wrong somewhere and nobody has caught it. Perhaps there is some unknown law of reality operating that would point out an obvious flaw in the proof if we knew about it.

3) As mankind is a thinking and inquisitive species, it is possible that at a later time we will find the flaw in our proof.

4) It is possible, however, that another, more subtle error in our logic still exists in our new proof. Perhaps we still do not have a complete understanding of the necessary laws of reality

5) To this proof it will be possible to apply 3, and to this it is possible to apply 4, ad infinitum.

6) We can never be certain that our proofs do not contain some flaw that is beyond our current ability to recognize. Therefore, nothing is provable beyond all possible doubt.

I’ve never called the General Uncertainty Principle a proof, because, if I did, it would have the somewhat ironic effect of disproving itself. I would have preferred to call the this idea simply, “The Uncertainty Principle,” but alas, quantum physics was already using that name.

This post has gone on long enough. I will continue with critiques and implications of these arguments in part 2.

Why I am an Agnostic

agnostic-cemetaryIt is my experience that most people in the U.S. are born and raised to some degree already walking on some religious path.  My parents raised me completely without religion in my life.  There, therefore, is no path that has been laid down as a suggestion for me to follow.

Instead, when I became curious about religion, I was faced with hundreds of different paths to choose from.  How could I possible choose?  I could only measure the merits of each against the only accurate map that I knew of: science.  Under this criteria, all of them failed.  I’ve been forced to make my own way through the woods ever since.

I call myself a militant agnostic not because I’m willing to go out and kill for my lack of beliefs.  Many people consider agnostics to be kinda wishy-washy about their beliefs.  I am not.  I am a firmly committed agnostic, and I strongly believe that being agnostic is exactly where where I belong on the theistic spectrum.  Science cannot disprove God’s existence.  God Himself could very easily prove His existence beyond virtually all possible doubt.  As He hasn’t done this, I can only assume that it’s either because He doesn’t exist, or that He has good reasons for wanting us to believe He doesn’t exist.

Unlike many agnostics, I am not just uncertain about the God of Abraham, I am also uncertain about just about any other God you could name.  To be quite honest, in fact, I’m quite atheistic as far as the God of Abraham is concerned.  Not only is the bible quite flawed, the God in that Bible does not behave even remotely like how I’d expect a non-insane God to behave.

No, the God I’m uncertain of would be a far more sane and reasonable God.  My God would have control over the entire universe and be far less obsessed with this little rock we live on.  My God could kick the God of Abraham’s ass through several unlikely dimensions.

The God I don’t know if exists is a God of my own deduction and thoughts.  I will talk about Him as a concept, but I will in no way try to push him down anyone else’s throat.

At times, I will talk like an Atheist.  I fully understand and sympathize with the atheist point of view.  I just can’t quite make that final step.

First of all, I spent so much time playing with the concept of God, and running through various plausible Gods that fit in with our current knowledge of the universe that for me to choose atheism would entail my acceptance of a “belief” that there is no god.  Most atheists profess that belief is not necessary from their point of view as they see no evidence for God’s existence.  This is fine, and absolutely true.  There IS absolutely no evidence for God’s existence.  It still would not feel intellectually honest for me to choose this path.

What’s more, I enjoy thinking about God.  He’s fun.  I kinda enjoy imagining the limitations that an omniscient, all powerful MUST have, despite the fundamentalist viewpoint that there are no limitations.  I enjoy putting God through God simulations in my brain and try to guess how He would come out as a result.

I will admit to some predjudices.  I’ve grown up in western culture, and I’ve got a western bent.  I call this being “God” for example, instead of Allah.  I refer to God as He even though God would almost certainly be genderless if God exists at all.  I do this because the original translations of the Bible had God as a male, and English has a profound lack of non-gender specific third person pronouns.  I have more respect for God than to call Him an It.  It just lacks class, you know?  So if there are any women who have a problem with this, then I leave it to you to come up with a proper non-gender specific third person pronoun for me to use.  Otherwise, I’ll stick with tradition, thank you very much.

I also capitalize the word God and the He, His, Him pronouns because it’s in the rules of proper English, and plus again it just feels more respectful when dealing with the possible creator of the entire f’ing universe.  The concept of a God who has managed to create something this big and complex deserves a capital letter, whether He exists or not.

There are times when I will talk as if I don’t believe God exists.  There are times when I will preach quite vehimently as if He DOES exist.  I am not being disingenuous.  It’s just that I am capable of holding both thoughts in my mind.  Call it doublethink.  It’s my brain, and I can maintain two contradictory thoughts in it at the same time if I want to.  😛

Others may ask me, “What if I’m wrong, and God will send me to Hell for doubting?”  Well, my answer to them would be that then either we would ALL be screwed, or we have nothing at all to worry about.  There are, by last count, an infinite number of potential mutually exclusive jealous Gods out there.  Even if I follow just the God of Abraham, then there are at least three major paths (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) that could get me flaming if I choose the wrong one.  Within Christianity, the are literally hundred’s of sub-variations of God that promise damnation unless I follow their particular set of beliefs.  There is certainly no safety in belief.

And, if the unproven God is NOT jealous, then I think He will forgive me for doubting.  I’ve lived a reasonable good life.  I’ve helped a lot of people.  I’ve given to charities and gave large tips to my waitresses.  The degree to which I am mentally unsound is not my fault.  I was born that way, and I am doing my darnedest to get past it all.  I am as I was created.  I am very hopeful that any reasonable God would see that.

So, that’s about it.  The atheist really shouldn’t care what I think so long as I don’t try to force my beliefs onto anyone else…no worries there.  The theist, well, they will think what they will think.  I am automatically condemned to eternal torture according to some of their beliefs.  Well, I really don’t like the sound of that, and I’m fully willing to jump into the arms of Jesus if He is waiting there after the truck squishes me.  I’ll just cross my fingers and hope for the best.

The Method of Creationism (mike part 2)

creationismThe following is the last response, counter response from a gentleman by the name of Mike on the subject of Creationism vs. Evolution.   For the complete record of this discussion, please see the last post, and indeed the previous three posts before that.

mike said:

wow. i just spent 3 hours responding to your argument and, with a double tap to the backspace button, it´s gone. oh well. must´ve been too wordy (especially considering it seems you´re somewhat disgusted – “Please don’t bother with your explanation”(?!?!?) – by the conversation – which i´m sorry to sense).

i´ll try to limit myself to the essentials here.

a) birds of a feather not only flock together, they are burried and become fossilized together too. the deluge lasted 40 days and 40 nights, but it took the flood about a year to recede. therein took place the laying down of strata/fossil layers. weight and size play heavily in the grouping. also see my previous comments on localized catastrophe (mt. st. helen´s) and similar results. always tilting: chuck d. february 12, 1809 – april 19, 1882

b) only about .0125% of fossils are vertebrates, mostly fish. 95% of land vertebrates consist of less than one bone, and 95% of mammal fossils are from the ice age (after the flood). this accounts for the relatively rare occurance of dinosaurs fossilized with other mammals. but don´t forget about the mammal (repenomamus robustus) fossil with a dinosaur (psittacosaur) either in its stomache (or possibly just burried directly on top of it).

c) i´ve discussed the documented inaccuracy of the geologic dating methods before (MEASURABLE 14C IN FOSSILIZED ORGANIC MATERIALS: CONFIRMING THE YOUNG EARTH CREATION-FLOOD MODEL, by JOHN R. BAUMGARDNER, PH.D. LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LABORATORY), wherein i also provide you with that peer-reviewed paper you have been asking for as well always tilting: chuck d. february 12, 1809 – april 19, 1882 (along with the reference to ahlberg and clack – Nature 440(7085):747–749 – who commented on the evolutionist emphasis on “unfounded notions of evolutionary ‘progress’ and with a mistaken emphasis on the single intermediate fossil as the key to understanding evolutionary transition.”)

i´m quite clear as to how science works. i´m also quite clear concerning the fact there is only one set of data (evidence – i.e. one earth/cosmos) and how that evidence is studied and applied to the model is all that is important. as you seem determined to rely on unreferenced youtube videos and wikipedia articles as the substance of your arguement, while demanding peer-reviewed publications (which i supplied nearly a month ago) from me, i feel i am justified in saying; you first! therefore, i turn your own demand on you:

“Show me one, single, peer reviewed, scientific paper from ANY reasonably reputable journal that has not been invalidated by later evidence that concludes that [evolutionism] provides better evidence for ANY even reasonably significant aspect of ANY of these sciences.”

respectfully (as well as continually open to the dialogue),

mike

Alphonsus replies:

I am very sorry that you lost 3 hours of work.  I know how frustrating that can be.  As for my “please don’t bother with your explanation,” it shows not disgust, but frustration in my realization from the very beginning that I am fighting an unwinnable battle in my hopes of getting you to concede to reason.

a) – So no horses, cattle, etc… got buried with with similar sized dinos? NONE? While I haven’t a scale, it seems to me that the velocoraptor(sp?) would have been about the same weight and size. If not, I’m quite sure that a paleontologist could find dinos of similar weights. And the baby dinos surely would have gone to the top of the layer, up there with the feather weight mastodons. This actually shouldn’t be too hard to test scientifically. One could create animals of various weights and distributions across a computer generated landscape, or even in a room sized diorama simulating the Biblically flat earth, and add flooding. Multiple kinds of flooding could be tested…falling from a hole in the firmament dome above the earth, escaping from the vast underground oceans known to exist beneath the earth’s crust, or a mixture of both. It would be interesting to see how the animals would fall. My hypothesis, however, would not be that they would fall anywhere nearly like the way you are suggesting.

While there might be an untestable, unverified hypothesis for explaining this, using Occam’s Razor, radiometric dating and the layering suggest strongly that layers are the result of time, not of a flood.

b) – What is it about mammals that cause them to fossilize during the young earth ice age as opposed to the flood? I would imagine that cows and dinos could swim about equally well.  I suppose the argument would be that mammals lived in colder climates to begin with.  Of course, there is zero evidence that the documented “mini ice-age” was anywhere near this large to support this supposition.  And it wouldn’t apply to the incredibly large number of mammals that live near the equator, anyway.

There is no real debate that early mammals and dinos were around at the same time. And repenomamus robustus was an apparently nasty opossum-sized mammal who may have eaten a small dino called psittacosaur…130 million years ago.

Again, Occam’s Razor suggests that the layering, combined with radiometric dating, against the no-evidence-for mammal / dino location differences and the different apparent death times mammals versus dinos gives far more balance to the evolution view than to the creationist

c) The article you mention (by John R. Baumgardner, Ph.D. Geophysics/Space Physics, Institute for Creation Research), has not been published or peer reviewed (I am not accusing you of saying that it did, I’m merely pointing this out). While it is true that Dr. Baumgardner has had over twenty peer reviewed papers, all of them relate to geophysics, this particular paper was not among them. Why did he not submit this paper to the same scientific scrutiny that he had done so many times before?  Perhaps because in this paper, Dr. Baumgardner refers to carbon 14 dating from coal samples. The very title of the paper is misleading, as fossilized materials (coal, in this case) by definition are not organic. 14C dating is not a good way of dating rocks, and 14C dating is not effective for dating materials over 60,000 years old. There are many other good ways that 14C could be found in coal or oil deposits (impure samples being among the chief). This is why coal is never used for dating via 14C.

And I’m not sure why you use the reviewed paper (Nature 440(7085):747-749 Palaeontology: A firm step from water to land) as meaning anything at all. The excerpt you used was a classic example of “quote mining”.  The Nature article refers to a review on the finding of a possible fossil of an intermediate “missing link” fossil between water and land animals and does absolutely nothing to bolster the creationist argument.  What it does instead is attempt to quell the penchant for people to read more into a discovery than may actually be there.  The article actually begins, “A project designed to discover fossils that illuminate the transition between fishes and land vertebrates has delivered the goods. At a stroke, our picture of that transition is greatly improved.”  It most certainly does NOT support the creationist viewpoint.

I am not a scientist. I’m a librarian. I apologize if my all of my evidence was not properly referenced.  Nevertheless, the Wikipedia articles are, without exception, well referenced. It is true that the YouTube videos are not (although references can sometimes be found by looking at the full information present in the rightmost column). So, as my evidence for intermediate species, I point you to Nature 440(7085):747-749.  Also, I point you to every peer reviewed article published in Nature or Scientific American, or dozens of other peer reviewed journals dealing with fossilization, paleontology, inter-speciation, genetics, biology, or biochemistry in the last 50 years.

99 percent of all known species are extinct (Past Mass Extinctions. About 99 percent of all species that existed on Earth are now extinct. (2000). The CQ Researcher. 10(31), 726.) I have to conclude from this data that God’s attempt to save the animals via the Ark was not terribly successful. While a good percentage of these extinctions are doubtlessly plants, one still has to wonder what happened to all the other fauna? The couldn’t have been killed during the flood…they were all on the ark. Creation only allows for one ice age, and that wouldn’t have affected Africa or the great rain forests of South America much at all.

Of course, all the flora on the earth would have died after being under water for a year. Some of it could have come back, no doubt, but not all of it. While I don’t have a citation, I’m willing to bet a fair amount of cash that many existing plants would become completely extinct after being underwater for a year.  And, if Noah had a lot of seeds aboard the ark in addition to the animals, he must have had a hell of a time getting around afterward to plant them all.  Funny that the Bible fails to mention Noah’s world-wide Johnny Appleseed trip.  It seems like a rather important detail to miss.  Of course, there could be a completely unscientifically supported supposition to explain this, as well.

And why in the heck did all the marsupials only go to Australia after the flood? What did they have against different areas with similar climates? Where are the dinos now? They are still around? That’s a heck of a lot of missing species that are hiding. Where is your evidence? Speculation based on unverified data, or indeed no data?

And you dare to call the creationist model to be more scientifically likely than evolution?  I see no science when I look at creationism whatsoever!  Unsupported theories.  Speculation.  No peer reviewed documents.  Quote mining.  Fraud.  Lies.  Isolated examples poking at evolutionary theories unknowns, and those themselves not even properly documented or even properly representing evolutionary arguments.

No. I am forced to use Occam’s Razor. There are way too many unsubstantiated, unprovable, unverifiable, and, quite frankly, ludicrous holes in the creationist account. As I said before, if Genesis did not exist, we would not be having this discussion. If creationism had legitimacy, keeping it out of academics would require a mass conspiracy of a proportion that we have not seen since the dark ages with the church disemboweling people who dared to question anything they interpreted as the literal interpretation of Bible. It is precisely because of this past ignorance, and the degree of violence still existing because of different religious belief today, that some of us are so opposed to giving any scientific legitimacy to religion at all.

Nevertheless, if there were any legitimacy, it WOULD be in the scientific journals. There is not, however. Most of the Christians in science have no problem accepting evolution and keeping their faith…they simply accept that the Bible is an imperfect work of men. The Pope himself accepts the evolutionary view. The United States is the laughing stock of other nations for still having such a large proportion of people sticking to this view. This is excusable among the ignorant…among those with a scientific education, there can be no excuse.

Richard Dawkins has said that Evolution is one of the most well documented of all sciences. To accept creationism and a young earth model we would have to accept that far, far, far too many scientific geniuses are easily duped (Dawkins, Einstein, Hawking, Sagan, and far to many others to mention).

Creationism has an aim of ignorance, pushing the Biblical view over the scientific. As such, it not only attempts to discredit science, it also in itself helps to discredit religion and all of its more reasonable followers. The debate between Mike and I demonstrates the incredible lengths that creationist dogma will go to bolster a claim that stands in the face of virtually every scientific discovery made in the last 150 years. Its proponents take on an airy confidence and make outrageously bold claims, having only pseudo-science and wishful thinking to back them up. They cannot get their ideas past the front door of legitimate scientific methods, so they cheat, trying to sneak textbooks into classrooms without undergoing scientific review.

Mike, I do not accuse you of deliberate deception.  I do accuse you of letting your Biblical inerrant misconceptions lead you down a path of self-delusion.

I will make no more posts with regard to creationism. Any such posts only serve to bolster the argument by creationists that there is a debate to be had. In the true scientific community, there IS no debate, and there hasn’t been for more than a century.  I will not debate the errancy of the Bible in other aspects.  Science has proven the first two chapters of Genesis to be errant beyond reasonable doubt.  I need go no further.

Creationism is dead. If it had just stayed back and let itself be a belief, it would still be alive today. Instead, it has tried to sneak around the outside of the bloody battleground of real science, and was still ripped to shreds by the claws of scientific debate before it could take two steps. It is dead–it has murdered itself–its followers just do not realize that they are falling to the floor yet.

Respectfully,

Alphonsus